Greg Hewgill (ghewgill) wrote,
Greg Hewgill
ghewgill

marginal costs of leisure activities

I just sent a resignation email to the Canterbury Gliding Club. I haven't been flying in something over a year, and I couldn't justify the continued membership expense if I'm not even going to fly.

Flying with Fault Line Flyers in Texas was pretty much a no-brainer for me at the time. It was about US$23 for a tow, and time in the air (glider rental) was a flat $3 or so per flight. I was living by myself and had plenty of time and enough money to spend on a weekend activity.

Here, a similar tow is about NZ$50, and glider rental is just under $1 per minute of flying time. As you can imagine, that adds up extremely quickly and the reality is it exceeds what I can justify for a weekend activity today. Especially since I like to spend weekend time with my wife (as one or both of us often seem to be busy during weeknights).

Coming to this conclusion was tough because I truly enjoy flying, but was always conscious of how much it cost. Naturally, that dampened the enjoyment somewhat. I realised that there are two types of leisure activities: those that have a marginal cost, and those that don't. Activities with a marginal cost are those where you have to shell out some amount of cash every time you do whatever it is. Gliding is definitely one of these activities; skiing, skydiving, and golfing are other examples. On the other hand, activities without a marginal cost usually require you to purchase equipment of some kind, but doing the activity just once doesn't cost anything. There are many examples of this: cycling, surfing, hiking, fishing, diving, even things like sailing or motorcycling (where the initial cost might be substantial). I have discovered that I'm a no-marginal-cost kind of guy. (Having said that, I'll still go skiing!)

Speaking of gliding, congratulations to Terry Delore who just yesterday broke the world distance gliding record with a 2501 km flight!
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